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British Columbia Highway 101 facts for kids

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Highway 101
Sunshine Coast Highway
Highway 101 highlighted in red.
Route information
Length 156 km (97 mi)
Existed 1962–present
Major junctions
South end Langdale Ferry Terminal
  Earls Cove–Saltery Bay ferry
North end Lund
Districts: Sechelt
Major cities: Powell River
Towns: Gibsons
Highway system
British Columbia provincial highways
Hwy 99 Hwy 113

British Columbia Highway 101, also known as the Sunshine Coast Highway, is the main north-south thoroughfare on the Sunshine Coast, British Columbia, Canada.

Highway 101, which first opened in 1962, is divided into two separate land segments, with a ferry link in between. The highway is maintained by Capilano Highway Services. Despite its location on the mainland, the highway is unique for not being connected to the rest of the British Columbia highway system. Access to the highway can only be obtained by taking ferries from Horseshoe Bay to the south end in Gibsons or Comox to Powell River. Highway 101 between Langdale and Powell River is designated as a feeder route of the Canadian National Highway System.

Route description

Nice morning 2
Highway 101 at Gibsons

The total distance of Highway 101, including the ferry link, is approximately 156 kilometres (97 mi). The highway begins in the south at the BC Ferries terminal at Langdale, which connects the Sunshine Coast to Vancouver via a ferry route across Howe Sound to Horseshoe Bay. The southern land section of Highway 101 is 80 kilometres (50 mi) long, and includes from south to north, the communities of Gibsons, Roberts Creek, Sechelt, Halfmoon Bay and Pender Harbour. The ferry link across the Jervis Inlet lasts 9.5 nautical miles (17.6 km) between Earls Cove to the south and Saltery Bay to the north. The 59-kilometre-long (37 mi) northern land section of Highway 101 includes, from southeast to northwest, the hamlets of Stillwater and Lang Bay, the city of Powell River, and the community of Lund, at the northern terminus of the highway.

Fixed Link Proposals

Several ideas to connect the Sunshine Coast and Highway 101 to the rest of British Columbia via a road or bridge connection have been considered and undergone feasibility studies. Bridging the ferry gap between the two sections of Highway 101 was studied at the same time. A fixed link would improve travel times and reliability for residents, lower operating costs, open the area up for tourism and add real estate. Over a dozen fixed link ideas were originally proposed which was narrowed down to 4 for serious consideration. One or a combinations of ideas are considered for implementation.

- A 58km extension of Highway 101 to travel along the west shore of Howe Sound and connect to Highway 99 near Squamish creating a ferry-free roundabout route from Vancouver to Gibsons.

- A 22km extension of Highway 101 that would travel across Howe Sound on a pair of 1.5km long suspension bridges, with Anvil Island in-between. It would then connect to Highway 99 north of Lions Bay. This would also create a ferry-free route from Vancouver to Gibsons, and it would be much shorter and more direct than the route than the 58km connection to Squamish. However, it is opposed by the Islands Trust.

- A new 200km long highway that links to Powell River to Squamish. This new highway would provide Highway 101 with a link to the mainland highway system by crossing the Coast Mountains. Two tunnels, 8km and 4.5km in length would be required. This route is noted to also allow access to a remote area including Jervis inlet, provided opportunities for new tourist and recreation area uses. In will also open the area up for resource exploration and slash shipping costs to Powell River. This route had been popular amongst residents and business of the Powell River area. However this route would not connect Gibsons, resulting in the ferry access still being necessary to access the south section of the highway.

- A 19km long highway link between the two sections of Highway 101 eliminating the ferry between Saltery Bay and Earls Cove. This route would require a pair of suspension bridges, 0.7 and 2.0 kilometres in length. A large portion of highway would be on Nelson Island between the two bridges. Nelson island despite being large, is currently not serviced by ferry and contains a minimal population. This route would allow the island to be opened for development.

All four options were considered feasible with a price range of 2 to 5 billion depending on the option. Analysis deemed that the two bridges had positive cost to benefit ratios while the two road links had negative cost to benefit ratios. Especially poor was the Squamish-Gibsons road link due to the fact it would take a hour longer to drive than the existing ferry takes. Tolls were considered, but low traffic volumes on every option except the Gibsons Bridge (#2) causes minimal cost compensation. The study is inconclusive, meaning that all four options are still on the table waiting further analysis.

Major intersections

Mile0 LundBC
Milestone marker in Lund designating a terminus of the highway.

From south to north:

Regional District Location km mi Destinations Notes
Sunshine Coast Langdale 0.00 0.00 Langdale Ferry Terminal – BC Ferries to Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal (Hwy 1 east / Hwy 99)
0.93 0.58 Marine Drive (Hwy 912:2566 south) / Port Mellon Highway (Hwy 912:2565 north) – Gibsons, Port Mellon
Gibsons 4.07 2.53 Reed Road
4.89 3.04 Gibsons Way, School Road Hwy 101 branches west
6.10 3.79 Pratt Road, Payne Road
Roberts Creek 15.40 9.57 Roberts Creek Road
Sechelt 41.25 25.63 Field Road
Sechelt First Nation 25.80 16.03 Ti'Ta Way
Sechelt 26.26 16.32 Dolphin Street, Wharf Avenue
28.84 17.92 Norwest Bay Road
Madeira Park 58.09 36.10 Madeira Park Road (Hwy 912:2573 north)
Earls Cove 80.29 49.89 Earls Cove ferry terminal
Jervis Inlet Earls Cove – Saltery Bay Ferry
Approximately 17.6 km (9.5 nmi)
Powell River Saltery Bay 97.89 60.83 Saltery Bay ferry terminal
Powell River 125.11 77.74 Joyce Avenue
128.67 79.95 Wharf Street (Hwy 911:2576 west) / Westview Avenue – Ferries Access to Texada Island and Comox via ferry
129.61 80.54 Alberni Street, Abbotsford Street
133.66 83.05 Arbutus Avenue, Marine Avenue
Lund 156.36 97.16 Lund Water Taxi – Passenger Ferry to Savary Island
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
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